We’re here to support you from bump to birth and beyond

‘Boorais and smoke don’t mix project ‘ engages with pregnant women through the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and Northern maternal health services in Melbourne. The project aims to increase the number of healthy Aboriginal babies born to smoke-free mums in smoke-free environments.

Every mum who is pregnant with an Aboriginal baby and who visits the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service or Northern Hospital for their pregnancy appointments can take part in this culturally safe project.

Women who take part will be given three gift bags – two during their pregnancy and one after they’ve given birth. The gift bags include deadly resources such as:

  • Boorais onesie (size 00 – 3-6 months)
  • Boorais hoodie (size 0 – 6-12 months)
  • $20 Coles voucher
  • Boorais baby bib
  • Pregnancy journal and pen
  • Smoke-free stickers for cars and homes, car fresheners, doorknob hangers and magnets
  • Boorais towel
  • Personal hygiene items for mum
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Pregnancy and post-natal information.

You’ll also go into a major draw to win a MAJOR PRIZE including a $1,000 gift voucher, a photoshoot for bub and your family, or a baby basket.

How to take part

If you’re a mum who is pregnant with an Aboriginal bub and you visit the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service or Northern Hospital for your antenatal appointments, you’ll be asked if you’d like to take part in the Boorais and mums project.

If you take part, during two of your usual antenatal visits and one of your postnatal visits you’ll be asked to answer a short survey and to have your and your baby’s carbon monoxide levels measured. This easy breath test takes two minutes and will let you and your health professional know how your tackling smoking journey is going. You’ll get information on how you can get culturally safe support to manage your smoking behaviours, and how to keep your boorais healthy in a smoke-free environment.

Did you know?

Smoking during pregnancy can be really bad for boorais. It can cause:

  • Miscarriage early in pregnancy
  • Ectopic pregnancy (baby grows in the wrong place)
  • Premature birth (baby born too early, needing to spend time in the special care)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Stillbirth
  • Low birth weight babies
  • Birth defects (cleft lip and cleft palate)
  • Damage to the baby’s brain, heart and lungs
  • Long term complications include asthma, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and the risk of being obese in adulthood

There is no safe level of tobacco smoking in pregnancy. It’s best to stop smoking as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. However, stopping smoking at any time during pregnancy is also good.

To get help to tackle smoking before, during and after your pregnancy you can contact the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service at boorais@vahs.org.au, your local Aboriginal medical service and the Aboriginal Quitline on 137848. Head over to our health page for pregnant mums for more information. Additionally, Sarah Bayliss is the registered nurse for this program and may be contacted at 04987 52221 or via sarah.bayliss@vahs.org.au.